September 12, 2017

Labor Day Camping 2017 Part 2

Camping with kids is a lot of WORK. Which kind of makes going for just one night not feel very fulfilling. That's why I love three day weekends because we can camp over a Sunday without it being one of the days that we are setting up/taking down and we can just relax, enjoy nature and each other. The kids loved starting each morning with hot chocolate and we went really low-key on all meals except dinner so usually we just had cereal or bagels and bananas for breakfast. BUT when we were at the farmer's market on Saturday, we bought a loaf of this homemade pineapple carrot cake that we knew would make for a tasty breakfast the next two mornings...and I need to make this now that we are home because it was SO good.

Fun tip for camping with kids: don't rely on "exploring" and "throwing rocks" to keep your kids entertained for 3 days. While they did plenty of that, I'm so glad I packed some familiar things that made each day kind of special. On Sunday morning we read a scripture story from their little picture scripture book and then had them try and make a scene from the story using play dough that I brought. Ava loves the story of Jesus being born so she made a manger with Mary and Joseph :) I can't even remember what Owen was making but he had fun pressing things into the play dough to make different designs, like these different pine branches.

Lucy was a peach for pretty much all of the trip except when she had to get put down on some weird surface like a camp chair to get her diaper changed, ha. The car seat came in very handy though when we needed to put her down while cooking, cleaning, playing, etc. I even brought it down to the river so she could hang out with me on the bank while Devin and the kids swam. I think she just really loved being outside the whole time. She actually cried for like 15 minutes straight soon after we got home - nothing I could do would calm her down and I seriously felt like she was mad that we weren't camping still, haha!

We got smart on Sunday and moved our big canopy so that it was over our tent, to keep it from heating up like an oven like it did on Saturday. We stayed around the campsite through the morning reading, etc. while it was still somewhat cool and then headed down to the river to spent the hot, hot afternoon. Kids brought their toys so Devin could relax a little, I brought some reading down to read while Lucy napped by me. The water was so clear, Devin and the kids were able to find some really cool things like oysters and pretty rocks.

Owen was constantly building "fires" with random things he found by the river and Ava always brought me pretty purple flowers :) I brought paints and paintbrushes, so while our dinner was finishing cooking in the dutch oven, the kids got to paint some rocks that they collected. Of course they mixed all the colors and it turned into this pretty sunset color on all the rocks so now Owen uses them to make "fires" in our dirt pile at home.

Dinner was 7 Up chicken, which Ava helped make by shaking the bag that had the chicken and flour mixture in it. We fried that up, then stuck the potatoes, carrots, onions on top, seasoned, and poured the 7 up over and let it cook for about 3 hours and threw some cheese on top at the end. So yummy!

We thought we'd be camping at a place with a firepit (and a big resevoir, which is why we had the boat, ha!) so we brought stuff to make Woof-ems. Since we couldn't do a fire we tried to bake the biscuits in the dutch oven which was really tricky to keep the bottoms from burning. We realize we should have taken the biscuits out a couple hours before we wanted to have them and kind of let them warm/rise which probably would have kept cooking time shorter in the dutch oven so the bottoms wouldn't burn. But Devin flipped them every once and a while and it did the job, just had to peel a layer off of some ;) Then topped with cherry pie filling and whipped cream!

Took the kids on a drive again to get them to sleep that night and came across a sad site of a motorcyclist who had somehow been thrown from his motorcycle. We had initially pulled over to let an emergency vehicle pass us and then less than a mile down the road was that same emergency vehicle at the end of a driveway and lots of people standing around this motorcyclist who was laying motionless on the side of the road, his bike laying on the ground not too far away from the driveway. There were other cars parked along side of the road but we don't know if they were involved or just parked to get out and see if he was okay. We didn't see any sign of a helmet  and no one was touching him or trying to help him so we wonder if he was killed instantly...we haven't been able to find an update anywhere on what happened. But, seeing stuff like that sure makes you thankful for every day. We drove slow enough by it that I could have gotten a picture but I don't think it's something I'll forget, as much as I'd like to not remember, and I even tried to keep myself from looking. I don't know how medical professionals watch stuff like this happen to people every day.

I wish we had gotten a picture of the tent set up. Devin got a great deal on some camping cots for kids that stack on top of each other like bunk beds. Then we had our queen air mattress in there with our double sleeping bag on top of it. Lucy slept in a little travel bed thing on the ground next to our mattress, and after she woke up for the first time every night I just brought her into the sleeping bag with me to nurse/keep her warm. She slept about as good as she does at home and the kids did okay too once we figured out how to keep them warm enough after the first night. We even brought the little potty training potty and kept it in the corner of the tent so Ava could pee in the middle of the night, which she did Heck, I'd be lying if I said I didn't use it during our trip. ;)

We wanted to beat the Labor Day traffic out of the mountains so we pretty much started packing up as soon as we woke up. The kids went down to the river to play while we packed/cleaned. There was SO MUCH DUST on everything, we had to just do the best we could and shake/clean it all when we got home. I made sure to snap a picture of this beautiful barn on the way out - isn't that amazing? That drive was the beginning of a very smokey week. A haze just kind of covered everything around the horizon, which gave the layers of forest kind of an ombre effect. We sure are grateful for the sacrifice and hard work that the firefighters are making to protect the beautiful lands we love.

Another thing I want to note that never got pictured was a trail across the road from our campsite. We somehow ended up calling it the "Junky Trail" because it's a path through the forest that leads to this clearing of trees that has this tall cement shack that we have no idea what it's original purpose was. It has been pretty heavily graffitied and had some junk inside, hense the name. But the cleared out area was really pretty and didn't have a bunch of trash everywhere like you'd think - just a pretty grassy space in the middle of the forest. We took a walk down there probably twice a day (and Owen slipped and fell on that trail every time because he wouldn't listen when we told him to walk on the grassy part, instead of the dusty dirt part). Pin It

September 11, 2017

Labor Day Camping 2017 part 1

I loved waking up to a campsite that we put up in the dark, finding it to be even lovelier than we could have thought :) We packed up Friday with no reservation for Labor Day weekend, hoping to get a spot at Deadwood Resevoir which is about 3 hrs away. We didn't realize it was on fire and closed until about the halfway point where the turn off is and a guy stopped us to tell us it was closed. So, it was dark (9:30 pm) and we had to find a new place to camp. Campgrounds were full but we miraculously found a spot by the river in garden valley - it didn't have a fire pit so we couldn't do a fire but luckily Devin had awesome cooking preparations with a propane stove.

Our best experiences camping are when there is a nearby river. This can be scary with kids but this part of the river was great, just down a little hill from our campsite and tons of rocks for climbing/throwing and kind of barricading the kids from the stronger current out in the middle of the river, which wasn't very deep. If it weren't for the river, we would have been toast. It got up to high 90s and our campsite wasn't shaded at all. On Saturday we drove into the town of Crouch to escape the mid-day heat. There was a cool little farmer's market going on and we walked through their little town museum and antique shop. The kids got to feel a mattress made with horse hair and some baseball uniforms from the early 1900s made out of wool.

Dusty, dusty, dusty! As if Owen cared, this was his paradise. Digging dirt and throwing rocks :) We put dinner in the dutch oven to cook all afternoon and it was amazing. Kind of like tin foil dinners but in the dutch oven instead of foil over a fire.

Thank heavens for Devin doing bedtime duty even while camping. Since it stays light so late and the tent was still pretty warm we knew the only way we were going to get them to sleep was to go for a drive. So we drove to Crouch again to get some ice to refill our cooler and grab some ice cream treats from the grocery store. Thankfully the kids were asleep by the time we got the ice cream so we didn't have to share, ha :) Pin It